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Pillar Rocks and David Gelli’s great tribute of love


Whoever visiting Kodaikanal can’t skip the majestic view of pillar rocks. Some travelers are lucky to see the clear view of pillar rocks and some are unlucky, they might have seen only the partial view of the rocks covered by mist. Pillar rocks were always a miracle for the tourists.

Travelers who had visited pillar rocks at earlier point of time might have seen a big white cross of almost 30 feet height on the rocks. Once that cross was a point of attraction for all the visitors, but now that cross is not there on the rocks.

The cross would have been a normal thing if there weren’t any story behind it, but it has a story to tell. This is not a fabricated story it’s a history. That cross is one of the saddest symbol of everlasting love.

Story of David Gelli and the tribute of his love

Some tourist guides and shopkeepers in that area knows this story very well. The David Gelli from England has fallen love with Kodaikanal and its awesome climate. He used to visit Kodaikanal very frequently and the last one was just after his marriage with his better half Irine Gelli.

They had planned to take some photographs by keeping the spectacular view of pillar rocks as the background scenery. Unfortunately the Irine Gelli slipped into the depths of pillar rocks and died.
After some days of deep disappointment, David somehow managed to reach the top of the pillar rocks and placed a very big cross which was made of wood.

David who had returned from there, again went near to that cross after 3 days. No one have seen him after that, David committed suicide by jumping from that hill top. This is that sad love story behind the cross.

David and Irine had visited the Christian church in Kodaikanal at that time and signed in the register which was kept for the visitors. The names were actually traced out with the help of that visitor register.

The survival of the cross at pillar rocks

The cross have survived many years in the monsoon influenced climate of Kodaikanal. After many years of survival the right side horizontal piece of the cross has broken.

Some college students who had visited Kodaikanal from Madras have noticed this and inquired the story of that cross from the nearby shopkeepers. They didn’t give up! Within one month, some of the daring crazy guys have come just for the maintenance of that cross and they did it.

They painted that cross with white color and started maintaining it for another couple of years. They used to come there in every March and gradually that also come to an end. The cross has completely fallen after another few years and vanished from there.

By that time Kodaikanal has become one of the inevitable tourist spot in Tamilnadu state. Obviously the government will have an eye on tourism and decided to give contract for the maintenance of the cross.
Due to unknown reasons, again the cross has fallen down; not once, twice! Later government also decided not to maintain it. We are not sure the reason for back out whether it’s because of the difficulty or expense of maintenance.

Adventure junkies have tried a lot to replace it, but no one couldn’t even reach near to that rock. Those vertical slippery rocks are very dangerous and not easy to climb as we think. How that college students have reached there is still a mystery. Now the story of David Gelli & Irine Gelli has completely wiped off, and Kodaikanal became more and more commercialized.

Most of the tourists don’t know this story, so thought of sharing this with my travel mates. Every visit to Kodaikanal will force us to look everywhere on that mountain for that cross, the great tribute of David to his soul mate Irine. Please share this story to your friends as well, Let them also look for the tribute of love there.

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